“Do you see a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29
For many, a new year means new goals, new dreams and new desires. A new year gives opportunity to a fresh start. It gives opportunity to get back on the right track and to make things right. Personally, I love the new year. I love the idea of planning, goal setting and evaluating the previous year.
Success rates for new year resolutions are consistently low, with a high percentage of people sliding back into old habits by the time February hits. For the culture we live in, failure is the norm. As humans, we prefer the path to least resistance. Being stretched, doing difficult things, being disciplined and living diligent lives is not what we prefer. Rather, we prefer instant gratification. Thus, mediocrity and failure is a standard most settle for.
Recently, I started reading The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth and Happiness. Within the first, several pages, I found myself challenged, convicted and motivated. Steven K. Scott makes the argument that less one in a thousand people fully utilize the skill of diligence. He defines diligence as the following:
DILIGENCE is a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence. – Steven K. Scott
After reading the book, I decided ‘DILIGENCE’ would be my ‘ONE WORD’ for 2017. In the past, I have always made goals for the new year. While my goals were good, they often were focused on me — my career, my health, my finances, my hobbies. If I’m honest, the process of determining my goals was often self-centered and rarely involved other people in my life. In other words, there was very little accountability. There was no one to share my journey with, no one to celebrate with when a goal was accomplished and no one to encourage me to be creatively persistent when I got off track. I rarely ‘attained a result that was pure and of the highest quality of excellence.’ Therefore, I rarely lived a diligent life.
I made the decision for 2017 to be different. I am striving for diligence. I want to forget about the path to least resistance. I want to go down a path that will stretch me and make my soul come alive. I’m ready for adventure. Will you join me?
Below is a simple model to think about and apply to your own life as we start 2017 with a bang!
1. Use the 5 F Model to determine your personal goals. I find it beneficial to keep my career goals separate from my personal life.
2. Get away. Don’t sit down and write out goals just for the sake of setting goals. Find space. Fight for quite and solitude. Pray. Sit in God’s creation. Turn your phone off. LISTEN! Seek God and invite Him into the process.
3. Keep it simple. Strive to have no more than 2 goals in each category. In some cases it’s okay to have 3. The point is to set yourself up for success, not failure.
4. Think of others. Your life isn’t about you. It should be about others. Be abundant in your thought process.
5. Be S.M.A.R.T. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to read more” are great ideas but terrible goals. “I want to lose 30 pounds by September 1st by working out Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 6:00 am” or “I want to read 1 book per month by reading for 30 minutes each morning before work” are S.M.A.R.T.
6. Frame and hang your goals. Hang them where you will get a reminder each morning.
7. Get accountable. Share your plan with your wife, mentor, brother or close friend. Schedule regular meetings with these people in order to review your progress. Give them permission to be tough on you.
8. Execute. Anyone can sit down and write down goals. Planning is easy. Executing is difficult. Execution is the difference between diligence and mediocrity.
I’ve included my 5F goals for 2017 as a sample to follow. I trust it will help get you started in the right direction (*Note – I have 4 goals listed under ‘Family’).
Garret’s 2017 Plan for Diligence
- I will find 1 day of solitude per month by having the last Monday of the month blocked off
- I will memorize and recite 24 Bible verses by 12/31/2017 (2 per month)
- I will pray with my family every morning before I go to the office
- I will date Eden (my wife) 1x per month and will plan 2 marriage weekend get-a-ways
- I will date Kendall (my daughter) 1x per month
- I will put my phone away every night at 8:00 pm
- I will write a letter of gratitude to men who have positively impacted my life by 4/1/2017
- I will plan and host a friend celebration with Eden by 6/1/2017
- I will go to bed every night by 10:30 pm
- I will wake up at 4:45 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to work out
- I will revisit and plan a new monthly and annual family budget by 1/31/2017
- I will establish and follow a monthly cash budget for my family
Garret Barbush, Executive Director